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Monday, June 23, 2014

Baack from Black Sheep

We are back from another wonderful Black Sheep Gathering.  As we get to know more and more people in the fiber world the time spent there seems to go by faster and faster (I'm hoping this phenomenon is not a product of age!).  Can't believe it is over but I sure am exausted.

The sheep are happy to be back as well (they were getting pretty cranky that last day).  Thought I'd post a few up to date pictures of our young ones.  Amazing how they grow up. 
This is Bloom, sister to Simbaa (see sale page), auntie to Harissa

Harissa, the loud little girl born with about an inch and a half of fleece!  She is the daughter of Simbaa (see sale page)
Griffin, one of our ram lambs

Oatis, our yearling ram.  I LOVE his fleece.

Last but certainly not least, Athena.  Wow she is maturing!  Still cute as a button.
OH AND if anyone "needs" spinning fiber, I still have big bags of Shetland top in an array of Shetland colors!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tradegy And Joy...

Freyja hovering over her baby
....Those are the feelings you experience with the birth of a lamb and the loss of the ewe.   Little Athena was born on day 140 following her conception, a bit on the early side for a first time lambing ewe.  She had a sister but unfortunately she never took her first breath, too early for her underdeveloped lungs I guess.  We were not expecting lambs this early.  I discovered the little one before bed, all dried off and fed.  Freyja did a wonderful job.  I put them in their own pen and all seemed good.  The next day they both seemed perky and healthy.  The only concern I had was that Freyja had not fully expelled the placenta, it remained hanging off her hind end.  I consulted the vet, not to worry until it had been another couple days.  The following day, two days after Athena's birth, Freyja was getting some odd symptoms.  Several times that day I consulted the vet and treated her with what seemed appropriate.  She did not improve.   By that evening she was dead, leaving this little infant in our hands.
     What amazes me about Freyja was that she was so very stoic when I imagine she must have been in tremendous pain.  My suspicion was she had a twisted intestine.  She stayed alert and caring for her baby up until the very end, with no sign of weakness.  It was hard to tell anything was wrong. Our last moment with her before she died (Tom and I both witnessed her last breath) was her lying peacefully with her little one curled right beside her.  It was like she was waiting for us to come to the barn to take her little one so she could go; that her baby would be cared for.  How could a mother be more loving of her baby than that? 

Freyja 3/23/2012-3/30/2014
Freyja leaves a big hole in our life but her baby is doing her best to fill it.  She is a spunky, healthy little gal;  full of life.  I promise to do my best to take good care of her as her mother would have wanted.

McTavish Farm Athena

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring Fever

 Like it is for all of us, spring is a happy time for sheep.  Temperatures are warming, grass is growing and it's time to get out of the barn and into the pasture.  These pictures were taken this morning when I put the gals out on a paddock for a little green grass.  As you can see....They are HAPPY!
Check out the "Texas kicker" maneuver!

Tsumi and Jack go at it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Add a Little Sunshine....

.......after a nice rain, of course, and we have green and food!  Our weather has been a bit wacko lately, torrential rains for the past week and it wasn't even October (we set a record for amount of rain this September).  Don't think I have ever seen it rain so hard except when I was in the rainforest of the Yucatan.  But now with the sunshine and warmth we have some grass growth.  The sheep are happy about that.  I guess it would be like us having to eat freeze dried food for a week then being introduced to a big buffet table of freshly prepared dishes.  We would go crazy too.  I took some pictures with our new camera (what a joy to have the picture click at the exact moment I take the picture!) and of course the sheep were so engrossed in eating it took shaking the earth to get them to look up.  But here's what I got.
This is Miss Cleo, one of the young ones.  She gets the "Miss Autumn" award for her color coordination.

Clancy the "playboy" escaping the camera.  He hates to have his picture taken;  I was lucky to catch him here.

Katrina who never has a bad hair day!

Our boomerang sheep Mali, a return to our flock after being sold as a lamb.  We are very lucky to have her back;  fleece is stunning!

The little Gottie babies just had their first haircut.  They are really happy to have sun.

Shebaa and her lovely fleece.  Interesting she was very light in color, almost white.  Now at age 4 her fleece is coming in much darker.  I like it!

Close up of Shebaa's fleece.

A sheep gang!

Leitzel, one of our choices for breeding this year. 
For those in need of spinning material I still have plenty of Shetland top for sale.  Check out the sale page.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grape Love

Digging into the pile of spent grapes
 Today was grape juice day.  It was meant to be grape juice morning but then soon turned into a grape juice day.  Now I am even looking at making more juice tomorrow!  Lots of grapes and not enough sterile jars.  Oh well, we will be stocked and I do love grape juice.

Appears that my sheep love grapes as well.  I was putting my grape refuse from the juice in the compost but then got the brilliant idea that maybe the sheep might like all those skins, stems and seeds.  And sure enough.....They LOVE grapes!
Here is a real grape hog! That would be Sushi sheep of course
At least she kept it off her pretty white fleece.
Reese says "yummy!"

Sunday, July 7, 2013


If you remember my post about a year and a half ago I told you of a massive black oak tree that had fallen in our pasture.  After sitting for a year, on our fence, on our lower sheep paddock, well we finally found someone to mill it for us.  It was too big for our chainsaw, and frankly, I really hated to see this big wood go for just firewood.   We were lucky to have found a very nice gentleman with a very portable mill to come cut it up for us.  So yesterday we toured down there to see what he was up to.  Here are some shots.

This is the mill.  After using his crane to place the log he uses this contraption to guide the saw across it.  The saw can be tipped at various angles so he can make cuts in both directions.  He then lowers the saw at those 4 posts to make another swipe at the log.  Pretty swift device.  It all fits on the back of a pickup.

Here is Tom and Clancy checking out the new boards.  This wood has some pretty figuring in it.  I'm thinking it should make some very nice spinning wheels.  Of course it will be a bit of time before it is fully dry.  Take note those of you lower down on the wheel list : )

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The List

In my attempt to get all the things done for upcoming Black Sheep Gathering I started tackling my list this weekend.  One thing on the list was to get pictures of the sheep we will be taking to the show.  We use the pictures to put on their pen cards so people can tell who is who when they are looking at our sheep.  Taking pictures of sheep in the pasture is tricky business.  It is easy to get pictures of sheep grazing, head down as if their lips are glued to the ground.  But I like to get a nice shot of their faces.  For this they do not always cooperate.  Take Miss Nori for example.  Below is a series of shots whereby I was trying to get at least a nice picture of her face.  I had already given up on the idea that she would hold a stand a few feet from me and look up at the camera; that was tried but she just couldn't be that far away from me. She had to be in my lap!  Because of that I resorted to holding the camera out to the side and attempting to hold her head toward the lens.  Her face would go everywhere but the direction I wanted.  Check these out.

This was the best I could do!
Hope to see many of you at the Gathering.  Come look for us in the Shetland barn.  If you need any nice Shetland rams  (or potential wethers) we could certainly help you out.  We have 3 nice boys that would make wonderful fiber pets, great personalities and super soft fleeces.  Come check them out.